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Freedman, Mathis take strides as reserve tight ends

When senior tight end Joe Torchia was lost for the season earlier this month due to a shoulder injury, redshirt freshman Jeremiah Mathis was converted from defensive end to the position he played on offense at DeMatha High School. Mathis was to be used as a third tight end, somewhat of an emergency backup behind sophomore starter Colter Phillips and sophomore reserve Paul Freedman.

But Mathis got into the game early in the second quarter Saturday against Eastern Michigan and recorded a catch for two yards, two signs that his stock might be rising.

"Jeremiah is a full-fledged tight end right now," Coach Mike London said. "There's a couple things he had to learn before we could just put him into the game. He'll play more at tight end. He provides a pass-catching ability because he's very athletic ... And so you'll start seeing more of him because he's learning the offense more. He didn't have the benefit of a spring practice. He had the benefit of getting ready in a two-week span. We'll continue to improve his learning curve, and you'll see more of him."

Freedman also turned in a noteworthy outing Saturday. He recorded his third catch of the season, which also happened to be his first career touchdown. With just less than five minutes remaining in the first quarter, fifth-year senior quarterback Marc Verica connected with Freedman for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

"Paul's done a nice job blocking and now catching a pass," London said. "He actually split two defenders on the way to the end zone, staying on his feet, because in practice we used to joke with him all the time. He'd catch the ball, and then the turf monster would get him. But this game, he caught the ball, turned, stayed on his feet, split two would-be tacklers and did a really nice job. That's another young player that played that's now getting to the point of getting some games behind him."

By Steve Yanda  | October 26, 2010; 9:57 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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